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Nov 3, 2017 1:52 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Suffolk County Planning Commission Approves The Hills Golf Course Resort In East Quogue

Nov 8, 2017 9:53 AM

The Suffolk County Planning Commission gave The Hills at Southampton, a proposed luxury golf course resort community in East Quogue, its stamp of approval last week—with a few conditions.

The Southampton Town Board is expected to take the commission’s ruling on Wednesday, November 1, under advisement when it votes on a proposed planned development district, a special zoning designation allowing the development, later this month. A total of four votes, a supermajority, of the five-member board is required to approve a PDD.

Jennifer Casey, the chairwoman of the Suffolk County Planning Commission, said the application was vastly improved, in terms of its potential environmental impact, compared to when it was last reviewed in 2013.

“We understood that there were a lot of tough environmental concerns,” Ms. Casey said, noting that the commission’s approval came with two conditions.

First, Ms. Casey said, the commission asked that the developer, Arizona-based Discovery Land Company, report to the Suffolk County Health Department all of the potential agricultural chemicals that might be used on the golf course—not just nitrogen—in its fertigation efforts.

Fertigation is an experimental technique where nitrogen-rich groundwater is recycled for irrigation purposes, aiming to remove more of the pollution by recycling it to nourish turf. It’s used at some golf courses, including Suffolk County’s Indian Island Golf Course in Riverhead, to reduce the amount of nitrogen that gets into the groundwater.

She said that the commission is concerned about what other chemicals can be picked up and used via the fertigation process.

Second, the commission asked the developer to continue discussions with Suffolk County’s Public Works and Health departments about potential issues with sanitary flow at the development.

The Planning Commission is an advisory board for the project, meaning that the Town Board will take its recommendation into consideration, but its stamp of approval does not necessarily mean the project will be approved.

There are no members currently representing Southampton Town on the commission. When Barbara Roberts resigned from the board in December 2016, immediately following a vote in favor of a zone change for a proposed shopping center in Tuckahoe—known as the Tuckahoe Center—she was not replaced.

A spotlight has been on the potential environmental impacts of the development—which calls for 118 part-time luxury residential units and an 18-hole golf course along Spinney Road in East Quogue—since it was first pitched several years ago.

Mark Hissey, vice president of Discovery Land Company, said the commission’s support shows that the proposal is an appropriate use of the land. “It tells me that at the county level there is overwhelming support of the project, that they took the time to look at the details of it,” he said. “They recognize it for what it is.

“Its a great project,” he continued. “And there’s no scientific evidence to show otherwise.”

The application—which requests a PDD, a special overlay zoning granted in exchange for community benefits that otherwise was eliminated from town code this year—transformed numerous times since a pre-application was first considered by the Planning Commission in 2013.

At that time, the commission ruled against the project for a few reasons, including concerns about the seasonal nature of the development, how chemicals used on the golf course would impact the environment, its location in the Pine Barrens, and a lack of an affordable housing component.

Since then, the developer went through four versions of its development plan, adding more protections to the environment each time.

Ms. Casey said the added protections helped the developer ultimately win the commission’s support. “The concerns from before were all mitigated,” she said.

Specifically, she pointed to a covenant that promises that the homes would be occupied only seasonally, the developer’s purchase of 30 Pine Barrens credits to reduce the overall density, its decision to preserve another 33 acres of land in the hamlet, and its efforts to use fertigation and limit the amount of pesticides used on the golf course.

“The plan stands on its merits,” Mr. Hissey said. “I’ve always been comfortable with what we’re proposing.”

The comments from the commission will be reviewed by the Town Board, which is set to hold its final public hearing on the PDD on November 13 at East Quogue Elementary School on Central Avenue at 6 p.m. The Town Board also will be considering comments from the town’s planning and conservation boards.

Following the hearing, the board is expected to approve a findings statement on the project—the last step in the State Environmental Quality Review. That vote requires only a majority of the Town Board for approval.

The PDD law could be in front of the Town Board for a vote as early as its regular meeting the following day on November 14 at 1 p.m. at Southampton Town Hall.

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Why does this not surprise me? Our elected and appointed officials are for sale by the very affluent developers. The EQ Community be damned. Our quaint little hamlet will be gone forever......replaced by a mega golf course and catering center. The wildlife who inhabit the area will be pushed out for a golf course. How pathetic indeed.
By crusader (368), East Quogue on Nov 3, 17 4:17 PM
"Mega golf course and catering center?"

You obviously have the Hills confused with some other project in another place. There is no "mega," just a normal sized golf course that will have substantially fewer rounds played than average. There is no "catering center" - don't allow the truth to get in the way of your rant.

The question here is if you are personally misinformed or intentionally misinforming others?
By VOS (989), WHB on Nov 3, 17 5:14 PM
I'm going to echo VOS here. You are either lying or ignorant.

What is your justification for the use of the word "mega"? Repeating one of Dick Amper's favorite terms with no actual meaning?

Catering Center? Where. Be specific. You can't. Because it is simply not true.

And how is it "for sale" exactly? Do you have specific evidence of what you are insinuating or is it just scurrilous figments or your imagination?
By Mark Hissey (166), East Quogue on Nov 3, 17 9:31 PM
“Mega” is a term used by local groups opposing a construction project to convince people that the Mall of America is being built in their backyard. Look at the Tuckahoe “Mega” mall... And, clearly, crusader believes you are building a 72 hole course with a 150,000sf “Catering Hall”...
By Draggerman (668), Southampton on Nov 4, 17 7:45 AM
“Mega” is a term used by local groups opposing a construction project to convince people that the Mall of America is being built in their backyard. Look at the Tuckahoe “Mega” mall... And, clearly, crusader believes you are building a 72 hole course with a 150,000sf “Catering Hall”...
By Draggerman (668), Southampton on Nov 4, 17 7:49 AM
... how did the Southampton Town representative to the Planning Commission vote on this issue? Oh, that's right, there is no Southampton Town representative on the Planning Commission. The seat is vacant.
By William Rodney (461), southampton on Nov 3, 17 5:00 PM
1 member liked this comment
Hissey and company have no RIGHT to a change of zoning and a PDD to build their development, hopefully this ill conceived potential environmental disaster will be voted down. Siting this over OUR aquafer is just plain irresponsible.
By bigfresh (2984), north sea on Nov 3, 17 5:21 PM
Where are the boundaries of this aquifer that you refer to? How does it differ from any other development that you might care to identify?

You're right that there is no right to a change of zoning. That is why this process is happening. But the PDD is better than the AOR and that is why that route is being pursued. Your opinion is clearly not well researched. The review by AKRF, Dr Petrovic and Dr Gobler clearly conflicts with your fear mongering.

By Mark Hissey (166), East Quogue on Nov 3, 17 9:38 PM
You're looking at the dollar signs , not the health of our sole source of drinking water, my opinion is just that , my opinion and common sense dictates that building a freaking golf course and condos on top of OUR aquafer is just plain foolish.
By bigfresh (2984), north sea on Nov 4, 17 8:56 AM
I guessed you might duck the question. It's an impossible one for you to answer without destroying your own argument. If you were to answer the question, you'd be wringing your hands every time you drive by any construction in the whole of Long Island.

This "common sense" and not science that you rely on is a dangerous belief.
By Mark Hissey (166), East Quogue on Nov 4, 17 2:35 PM
Most "any construction" does not sit on top of the Pine Barrens.
By Mr. Z (9462), North Sea on Nov 13, 17 7:10 PM
This article would do well to point out that of its 15 mostly "up-island" members, the Planning Commission still does not have its required representative from the Town of Southampton. The Town's former representative resigned in protest in 2016, over her experience of undue political influence in the Commissions deliberations.

That Southampton's largest development project in a generation was debated before the entire Commission with zero input from any Southampton Town representative ...more
By Group for the East End (12), Bridgehampton on Nov 3, 17 6:19 PM
Firts, the Group has grossly exaggerated the project size- truth is the largest proposed development in Southampton in a generation is the mixed use- master developer -Riverside Project with residential dwelling units and commercial use. That project was approved by the Town of Southampton Town Board, albeit the problem of a realistic wastewater disposal system was solved.
Second, the most common solution to legacy pesticides in groundwater is using activated charcoal filters to remove the ...more
By Lion (221), southampton on Nov 3, 17 7:28 PM
1 member liked this comment
Corrections: “*First” - the wastewater disposal for Riverside has to my knowledge NOT been solved-
Btw Group, are you having your Fundraiser at Golf at the Bridge in Bridgehampton again this year?
That’s a “good question....”
By Lion (221), southampton on Nov 3, 17 9:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
Having been on your board for as long as I was, I'd expect far better from you. You need to base your comments on solid science and not scare tactics. If you don't know about phytoremediation, then you should. It is proven and well established.

To add to that, what exactly is the downside of phytoremediation when you have a condition that already exists? How can it possibly make anything worse?
By Mark Hissey (166), East Quogue on Nov 3, 17 9:43 PM
Lion brings up an excellent point. Why does the Group For the East End hold events at The Bridge and Sebonack? What scientifically is so different from those two projects and this one that you have so forcefully disparaged?

And please don't trot out the nonsense about Bayberryland being a non-conforming use. The Hills property presents a similar plethora of problems that Baybebryland has that were addressed in a creative way to solve a lot of problems. Clearly you were happy with the results ...more
By Mark Hissey (166), East Quogue on Nov 3, 17 10:07 PM
...what "scientifically is so different" between Sebonack , The Bridge and the hills housing development is that neither of the aforementioned have 118 homes attached to the project as does the hills. So, quite simply, legitimate, "scientific" comparisons can not be drawn.

By William Rodney (461), southampton on Nov 4, 17 8:19 AM
Really a lot more than just the homes. More significantly Sebonack and the Bridge were not proposed in the Pine Barrens in the aquifer Overlay Protection District. Sebonack was built over a developed property with a hundred structures and buried tanks, not a forest, and the Bridge was built over the old Bridgehampton Race Circuit, also not a forest. Not even close.
By CleanWater (116), East Quogue on Nov 4, 17 10:16 AM
1. The "Riverside Urban Renewal Plan" is a regional rezoning plan covering hundreds of small properties in a blighted and impoverished, already developed area with over 350 residential parcels. The entire study area is less than 500 acres of which only 20% is undeveloped. This is quite different from a single 600-acre application with one developer that will occur immediately upon approval. The best estimate for Riverside is a decade or more and without any resolution to the septic issues, the ...more
By Group for the East End (12), Bridgehampton on Nov 4, 17 12:24 PM
Mark,
1. The Bridge has 20 or 21 residential lots (on just under 600 acres) and Sebonack less than 20 guest cottages. The Hills proposes a golf course and 118 residential units on undeveloped property with the Town's most stringent zoning already in place which is also adjacent to the already impaired surface waters of Shinnecock Bay. That's the difference.

2.Also, the elimination of pre-existing nonconforming uses is a well defined, long-standing community benefit supported by decades ...more
By Group for the East End (12), Bridgehampton on Nov 4, 17 12:50 PM
The Riverside project includes over 2,200 full time resident dwelling units- the Hills is also a rezoning application with 114 seasonal resident dwelling units. The Hills involves 600 acres and proposes to leave hundreds of those acres as open space. The Hills has also solved its wastewater disposal issue.
The GFEE posted above that the Hills was the “the largest development in a generation....”
That was a grossly misleading statement by the Group and displayed a genuine lack ...more
By Lion (221), southampton on Nov 4, 17 1:27 PM
Mark,
Bob here,
I am fine with the broad concept of phytoremediation, however understanding what contaminants might be encountered in the fertigation "source water" is a basic and reasonable request given the amount of water that will be used for this purpose over time.

This issue was raised by the Planning Commission as well as us for the same reason, which is that over the years the County Health Department has found that groundwater which is high in nitrogen from agricultural ...more
By Group for the East End (12), Bridgehampton on Nov 4, 17 1:36 PM
Did the Group miss my comments regarding the use of activated carbon filtration systems to remediate pesticides IF these compounds are discovered in local groundwater?
By Lion (221), southampton on Nov 4, 17 1:50 PM
Seriously Bob, when have I ever pushed back on any understanding on contaminants in the source water? Why on earth would I want to ignore that? If this is a pre-existing condition, and will be there in perpetuity, what on earth can be done about it? Has anybody ever proposed a solution for this particular problem? If additional contaminants are there, then I'm all for finding a solution to them. What is particularly infuriating is this narrative that phytoremediation can worsen the problem. That ...more
By Mark Hissey (166), East Quogue on Nov 4, 17 2:27 PM
"My own Democrat Party"?? Really, Mr. Hissey? I've been a member of the Democratic Party all my life, and I've never heard a fellow Democrat refer to it as the "Democrat Party." Never. That's Republican talk, Fox News talk, redneck talk. We Democrats always say "Democratic Party," without exception. The adjective always has that little "ic" at the end.

So what's going on here? I know you claim to be a Democrat, and you may be registered as such, but that "Democrat Party" thing, ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1742), Quiogue on Nov 4, 17 6:17 PM
The profound and astonishing arrogance of George Lynch strikes again. It's fine though. Your opinion of my politics is completely irrelevant to me other than the fact that I wear it as a badge of honor. It is your brand of arrogance in the party that helped get that evil moron in the White House.

Of course, your haughtiness is nothing new. Do you recall the early meeting when you had the gall to disparage your fellow veteran, Ron Campsey? That his opinion needed to be corrected by you ...more
By Mark Hissey (166), East Quogue on Nov 4, 17 8:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
In the East Quogue Hamlet Study two residential golf communities were identified so there were always two courses with dwellings under consideration. Southampton purchased one of the sites, permitting the second site (Hills) to move through the Towns Comprehensive Plan recommended PDD process for resort community with golf course. If your Group examines the planning and land use history of decisions and recommendations for the Hamlet you might gain a better understanding. The AOR was not a recommended ...more
By Lion (221), southampton on Nov 5, 17 9:50 AM
1 member liked this comment
this project will be a beautiful addition to the area, this company really does a nice job. the environmental questions have been satisfied and the golf coarse will be continually monitored. so stop the fear mongering already !
By Erin 27 E (881), hampton bays on Nov 3, 17 7:15 PM
Sure it will be monitored but what are the options if there is contamination of our drinking water? Hissey and company will be long gone and we'll be left holding the bag.
By bigfresh (2984), north sea on Nov 4, 17 9:00 AM
Long gone? I'm not going anywhere. I'm proud of my legacy from what I built at Sebonack. The monitoring and protection measures there are now into year 12 and have been nothing short of excellent. They will continue to do so as they will at The Hills.

My record is there for anyone to check. My commitments that I made in developing Sebonack were made in 2001-2003. You won't find a single infraction or failure to live up the the commitments made in that project.
By Mark Hissey (166), East Quogue on Nov 4, 17 2:04 PM
On Thursday night, October 26, I attended the Candidates debate at Rogers Library in the Village of Southampton. It was clear, from the questions submitted by the public, that the one topic on the voter's minds, from the first debate and now the last, was "The Hills PDD."

First up were the two Candidates for Town Supervisor. Jay Schneiderman finally stated he will vote "YES" (what a surprise) for "The Hills PDD" and that the vote will be this year. Don't be fooled ! Jay will try every ...more
By SpeedRacer (61), Southampton on Nov 3, 17 7:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
This copy and paste post is really getting to be hysterical.

Vote for Havemeyer, the guy who has said nothing about anything because he is a write in. SpeedRacer believes in him so much he can't even be bothered to rewrite his post!
By bb (721), Hampton Bays on Nov 5, 17 10:07 PM
bb So, I guess I won't win the Pulitzer Price this year. I do think you need to get a real life!
By SpeedRacer (61), Southampton on Nov 7, 17 3:51 PM
DUMP GREGOR
DUMP SCHNEIDERMAN
DUMP GLINKA
DRAIN OUR SWAMP
CLEAN OUR ENVIORNMENT
By pw herman (704), southampton on Nov 4, 17 7:56 AM
Why Gregor? I thought he was an honorable man?
By Summer Resident (208), Southampton N.Y. on Nov 10, 17 2:51 AM
1 member liked this comment
I was disappointed Gregor's opponent didn't win...a very helpful and cooperative individual.
By 16945 (14), Riverhead on Nov 16, 17 2:50 PM
The clubhouse will cover 4.25 acres. From the DEIS: "The clubhouse will provide 37,860 SF of member facilities; additional spaces for maintenance/management/mechanical/storage areas, two levels of below-grade parking, and 24,000 SF in the 10 club condos, which would be similar in style and appointments to a luxury hotel unit. Each of these units would have 2,400 SF of floor area, and average three bedrooms. The clubhouse will not be available for public use; its facilities will be reserved exclusively ...more
By Taz (285), East Quogue on Nov 4, 17 11:17 AM
You have literally answered your own question. 37K for member facilities is perfectly normal. It includes all of what you described plus bathrooms, hallways, and other individual areas described in the floor plans, as well as locker rooms. Pick out the square footage of the dining area which is the only area that could possibly be described as this mythical "catering center". You won't of course, because you never answer any questions posed to you.

24K of condominiums are just that. Privately ...more
By Mark Hissey (166), East Quogue on Nov 4, 17 1:56 PM
Why is extra parking necessary if community center is too small for parties/events? Who will park there?
By Taz (285), East Quogue on Nov 5, 17 12:53 PM
NEWS FLASH ! NEWS FLASH !

The Suffolk County Planning Commission has NO Southampton Town representative. How tragic and outrageous !

THEIR DECISION SHOULD BE CONSIDERED NULL AND VOID !!!

THE HILLS PDD SHOULD BE CONSIDERED NULL AND VOID !!!

VOTE ON NOVEMBER 7

RE-ELECT JULIE LOFSTAD ELECT TOMMY JOHN SCHIAVONI

WRITE-IN FRED HAVEMEYER FOR TOWN SUPERVISOR

ON THE BALLOT, GO TO THE BOTTOM OF COLUMN 10 ...more
By HamptonClassic (38), Southampton on Nov 4, 17 2:31 PM
1 member liked this comment
So, because Barbara Roberts quit the board because she didn’t get her way and no one has been appointed from Southampton town, you consider the decision null and void?

I remember a time when we were told by the “Hills No” group, that Dr. Gobler will tell it like it is. We should listen to him...

Then, when he didn’t say what you believe to be the truth, you attempt to discredit his findings.

I really love the alt left mentality. And, as for Freddy ...more
By Draggerman (668), Southampton on Nov 5, 17 2:23 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By HamptonClassic (38), Southampton on Nov 5, 17 4:54 PM
Are you listening Southampton?????
By rvs (75), sag harbor on Nov 4, 17 10:01 PM
Replying to Mark Hissey's post above of Nov. 4 at 8:52 PM (I prefer not being buried in the middle of of the thread), it's so easy to get you riled, isn't it, Mr, Hissey? Oooh, and you have such a long memory, too. Guess all that stuff left a sting huh?

Good. It was intended to. As far as Ron Campsey is concerned, being, as you put it, a "genuine war hero" -- which he is -- doesn't entitle the hero to say any old thing at all without being challenged. Ole Tex himself wouldn't maintain ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1742), Quiogue on Nov 5, 17 1:06 PM
Once again, Mr. Turkey, you have exposed yourself as a pure partisan with no goal but to perpetuate the tired old ideals of one party over the other without regard to facts or any other nuisances that may get in your way. Guys like you drag the American political process into the swamp but it is there that you revel.

You cite Mr. Hissey's statement above but do nothing to substantiate your claims. Where does he urge anyone to "vote straight Republican this Tuesday?" He doesn't - that ...more
Nov 6, 17 10:50 PM appended by VOS
Vote for people, not for parties.
By VOS (989), WHB on Nov 5, 17 10:50 PM
OK, VOS, so you say I'm wrong to claim that Mark Hissey has asked people to vote straight Republican tomorrow. Let's do remember that like everything else, this has a context, and that context is The Hills PDD proposal, as to which the only elected officials deciding will be the members of the Southampton Town Board, so we're not talking about County offices, or Supreme Court judges, or anything else on the ballot, just the Town Board.

Now there are three seats on the Town Board up for ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1742), Quiogue on Nov 6, 17 9:36 AM
TB,
Why do you dismiss the actual evidence contained in the SEQRA records that has determined the action will receive a Positive Findings Statement ? How do you think an elected official in opposition to the Findings do on the witness stand in NYS Supreme court as an expert witness?
By Lion (221), southampton on Nov 6, 17 12:03 PM
Well, Turkey, you're right about one thing - "this has context." The context is that everything you do is based around that tired old concept you are struggling to maintain that party is everything. If you were to open your eyes and ears you'd see and hear the people shouting how wrong you are. They are dealing with issues while you are pandering to those stuck in your little club of insiders.

Your preferred method of ignoring, bending, twisting, denying and defying the truth simply ...more
Nov 6, 17 7:30 PM appended by VOS
Vote for people, not for parties.
By VOS (989), WHB on Nov 6, 17 7:30 PM
Turkey Bridge .... your ABOVE POST is a MUST READ for all SOUTHAMPTON voters.
Turkey Bridge's analysis is 100% spot on. The only addition I would make is...

WRITE IN FRED HAVEMEYER for TOWN SUPERVISOR.

ON THE BALLOT, AT THE BOTTOM OF COLUMN 10 (Supervisor)
Write FRED HAVEMEYER

By SpeedRacer (61), Southampton on Nov 5, 17 1:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
TB,
Well looks like you have it all figured out for us dumb "Democrat Redneck" folk who ain't got no fancy education like you.
I'd a thunk different like maybe that thar Article 78 bar for arbitrary and capricious ain't that high. After all the Towns adopted Comp plan recommended the parcels be developed using the PDD as a golf-seasonal resort- a full blown SEQRA review (second in scrutiny to West Way) based on science proved impacts to be avoided and or mitigated and a positive findings ...more
By Lion (221), southampton on Nov 5, 17 5:25 PM
3 members liked this comment
DON'T LET DEVELOPERS BUY OUR ELECTION !

SAY "NAY" TO JAY AND RAY

RE-ELECT COUNCILWOMAN JULIE LOFSTAD

ELECT TOMMY JOHN SCHIAVONI

WRITE-IN FRED HAVEMEYER FOR TOWN SUPERVISOR

ON THE BALLOT, GO TO THE BOTTOM OF COLUMN 10 (Supervisor)

WRITE IN FRED HAVEMEYER

HELP SEAT THESE INDIVIDUALS ON THE NEW TOWN BOARD !

VOTE ON NOVEMBER 7

...more
By HamptonClassic (38), Southampton on Nov 6, 17 10:32 AM
DLC will have to explain in NYS Supreme Court why majority of TB voted FOR the PDD, despite all the excuses listed above. Trouble is, PDD requires a super majority, which the plan failed to achieve, assuming the PDD is rejected. Maybe they can get Jay to vote against it now so their litigation can carry more weight. Bad planning on their part, wouldn't you say? Which is one of the reasons DLC should not be responsible to protect our water, they can't even shoot straight.
By Taz (285), East Quogue on Nov 6, 17 12:34 PM
WRITE IN FRED HAVEMEYER for TOWN SUPERVISOR.

ON THE BALLOT, AT THE BOTTOM OF COLUMN 10 (Supervisor)
Write FRED HAVEMEYER
By jameshoge (1), Southampton on Nov 6, 17 9:31 PM
1 member liked this comment
All that I know is that of the two friends who contemplated purchasing a home in this golf course development, both said that they would have no interest in living in Spinney Hills without the golf course.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (401), southampton on Nov 7, 17 10:24 AM
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